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Saturday, January 6 2018
The Greek Empire: Cleopatra and The Ptolemies Of Egypt
"In praising Antony I have dispraised Caesar"
The death of Alexander the Great (see The Greek Empire: Between The Testaments and The Greek Empire: Alexander Of Macedonia and The Greek Empire: Alexander's March To India) resulted in Alexander's empire being divided up by four of his most-ambitious generals - precisely as prophesied in the Book of Daniel over 200 years before it happened (see The Greek Empire: Alexander's Horns To The Four Winds):
"8:21 And the rough goat is the king of Grecia: and the great horn that is between his eyes is the first king. 8:22 Now that being broken, whereas four stood up for it, four kingdoms shall stand up out of the nation, but not in his power." (Daniel 8:21-22 KJV)
Ptolemy was the general who acquired Egypt and north Africa (see the map above). From Ptolemy came his namesake Ptolemaic Dynasty that ruled for about three centuries, until the murder of Caesarion (Ptolemy XV), the 17 year old son of Cleopatra and Julius Caesar, by order of Octavian (who later became the Ceasar Augustus of the Bible; see The Roman Emperors: Augustus) in 30 BC.
Although Ptolemy and his successors were and remained Greeks, they assumed many Egyptian customs, ruling in the supposed-tradition of the ancient Egyptian Pharaohs. They also conducted themselves in incestuous marriages similar to many of the actual Egyptian Pharaohs. The Ptolemaic kings, all fifteen of whom were named Ptolemy, often married their sisters, who were commonly named Cleopatra (from the Greek kleos patris meaning famous parents).
One Egyptian custom that they did not adopt however was the language - the Ptolemies were avid Greek speakers. They made Greek the official language of Egypt, and many cities were given Greek names. The name Egypt is itself derived from the Greek term for it.
Ptolemy moved the capital of Egypt from Memphis to Alexandria - the city founded by Alexander the Great himself, and where Alexander was buried. From there, the Ptolemies ruled an empire that extended beyond Egypt to Israel and Jerusalem, Cyrenaica, Cyprus and as far north as western Asia Minor (Turkey) and the Aegean Sea region - which brought them into conflict with the Romans who were then getting "ambitious" with their own borders.
Alexandria became one of the greatest ancient centers of knowledge and trade. A great library was founded there. Many Jews also lived in the city and adopted Greek ways and language (see Hometowns: Alexandria). The Septuagint, the Old Testament translation into Greek, was made by Jewish scholars in Alexandria.
Eventually the Ptolemaic kingdom was weakened by typical internal struggles for control (the ultimate threat to democracy is democracy itself, when legislative-gridlock and party-polarization lead people to view their fellow citizens as an, or even the greatest, enemy of the nation - when a country starts to devour itself; see also What Did A Father Of Democracy Predict About It?) and the growing power of the Romans.
Cleopatra VII was the last and generally most well-known of the Ptolemaic rulers. Although there were numerous Cleopatras, she is the one that made the name famous.
Cleopatra reigned with the political support of the Roman leader Julius Caesar (see The Roman Emperors: Julius Caesar), with whom she had a son.
After Julius Caesar was assassinated, Cleopatra became involved with the Roman general Marc Antony - a lust and power relationship that lasted for 10 years. It ended when the forces of Antony and Cleopatra were defeated by Octavian (recorded as Caesar Augustus in the Bible; see The Roman Emperors: Augustus) at the battle of Actium. After Cleopatra, 39, and Antony, 53, both committed suicide (she by having a poisonous snake bite her), Egypt was absorbed by the emerging Roman Empire.
Fact Finder: What was the Greek and Roman place in the order of Biblically-related "world" empires? What is going to be the last empire on Earth?
This Day In History, January 6
871: The Battle of Ashdown (southeast of London) between the Danes and the West Saxons under Ethelred and Alfred the Great. The Saxons drove the Danes back, but with heavy losses on both sides.
1066: Harold Godwinson, England's last Anglo-Saxon king, was coronated as Harold II. He succeeded his deceased brother-in-law, Edward the Confessor.
1099: Henry V, second son of Henry IV and his first wife Bertha of Turin, was crowned king of Germany.
1169: England and France agreed to peace when Louis VII and Henry II met at Montmirail.
1205: Philip of Swabia, King of the Germans, became "King of the Romans" (Latin: Rex Romanorum; German: Romisch-Deutscher Konig; see The Holy Roman Empire Of The German Nation).
1492: Ferdinand and Isabella, "The Catholic Monarchs" of Spain, entered Granada, completing the Reconquista.
Ferdinand and Isabella are most well-known to history as the employers of Christopher Columbus (see Thanksgiving In History and Prophecy for a map of the four voyages of Columbus - all of which were actually limited to the islands of the Caribbean Sea), as well as for their "Spanish Inquisition" that imprisoned, tortured and murdered non-Catholics all across Europe. The torture known as "water boarding" was invented during their reign of terror.
1540: King Henry VIII of England married his fourth wife, Anne of Cleves.
1558: The French seized the British-held port of Calais.
1781: During the Battle of Jersey, the British defeated the last attempt by France to invade the island (Jersey is the largest island in the English Channel).
1848: Pope Pius IX, in his encyclical letter "In Suprema Petri Apostoli Sede" ("On The Supreme Throne Of Peter The Apostle"; see also Papal Bull) invited the Orthodox Church to reunite with the Church of Rome.
1884: Austrian monk Gregor Mendel died. He made many scientific discoveries involving genetics.
1912: German geophysicist Alfred Wegener published his (correct) theory of continental drift. Although obvious, such as in how the west coast of Africa and the east coast of South America would fit together perfectly (because they were joined long ago), Wegener (and others) was rejected and mocked in his own time for it. It was only in the 1950s that continental drift became accepted by science (see The Greatest Islands Of Earth).
1929: King Alexander of Yugoslavia abolished the constitution, dissolved the government and established a royal dictatorship.
1959: The British jet Lightning P-1 flew twice the speed of sound.
1969: President Charles de Gaulle of France banned French arms sales to Israel.
1989: Emperor Hirohito of Japan died at age 87. He reigned 62 years.
1990: Poland's Communist Party leaders agreed to its dissolution and replacement by a non-Marxist party.
2009: In response to continuous rocket attacks on civilian population centers by Palestinian terrorists, Israel began a counter-attack on Gaze, Operation Cast Lead (see also Where Is Palestine? and Gaze In History And Prophecy).